Getting a mortgage is one of the biggest commitments that you’ll ever make in your life. But it’s harder than ever before to get a mortgage, and in many cases, it’s even more difficult to pay it off. Ever since the banking crisis in 2008, banks have been massively restructuring and restricting the amount of loans that they’re willing to underwrite. Of course, in a way, this is a welcome step in the right direction – it prevents people who are unable to pay for their mortgage or who may become unable to pay their mortgage from borrowing more than they can afford – which was one of the major factors in the crash in the first place.
Now, it seems to have gone a little bit too far the other way – it’s incredibly difficult to get a mortgage, even if you have a deposit in place and are able to meet the monthly repayments, because there needs to be affordability in place, which generally means that you’ll need to be earning at least five or six times your yearly repayments in terms of your salary. For many people, this is a huge stretch, and the only way that you’ll be able to prove your affordability – that you can pay the mortgage back – is with a larger deposit. Again, this is often too much of a stretch, particularly if you’re a first time buyer. Many banks are asking for a least a 35% deposit, which is pricing many first time buyers out of the market, or requiring them to buy a house somewhere that they don’t really want to, simply so that they can get a foot on the ladder.
Because of this, more and more people than ever before are staying at their parent’s homes well into their 30s, simply because they don’t really have another option. In order to actually get a mortgage, unfortunately, you’ll likely need a squeaky clean credit report (i.e. no defaults on any of your credit accounts, no bankruptcies, no large amounts of credit and not too many credit accounts). If you’re currently at more than 30% of your total credit limit on all of your credit cards, that will most definitely count against you. Too many credit searches can also have a negative impact, as can repeated applications for credit cards and credit accounts, for example store cards, can make it seem as though you don’t have enough money – which is why you keep asking for credit.
Where possible, withdraw a spending budget each week – for example, $200 (or whatever is manageable for you), and use that to pay for everything throughout the week, such as your grocery shopping or your gas. It’s much easier to keep track of your spending if you buy things in cash rather than on your card, because if you can physically see the money as you spend it, you’re far less likely to. On your mortgage application, your weekly spending will also be far less messy, so it’ll help you to budget and help your application.
Read the next in our mortgage series in a few weeks.